PSR Bâtard Festival – Closing The Space Between Us
Bâtard Festival Brussels and Het Veem Theatre presented together the festival Bâtard Festival Brussels – Amsterdam 2015, with the subtitle; Closing the Space Between Us. It was the first joint edition of Bâtard Festival in Amsterdam since its twelve years of existence in Brussels. They created one festival in two cities that in both cities would take place in one space only. The festival started in Brussels with three days and then travelled the next week for four days to Amsterdam.
Veem and Bâtard share both an attitude of time and time again asking what their structure is and what it could and should be. What is a performing arts venue and production house as Veem is? What is a festival as Bâtard is? How do these structure serve the ‘sharing’ and ‘production’ of arts in the best manner? How do they bring audience and makers in to conversation with one another? What kind of a place can we create being an arts organisation? Both organisations keep not only reflecting upon these questions, by speaking about them, but above all challenge these issues by proposing every time anew, new ways on how to approach these ‘formats’ of ‘house’ and ‘festival’. Now for this occasion Bâtard and Veem decided to join forces and to create a festival that would literally and figuratively cross boundaries. We crossed the boundaries of our cities and countries, but also of the disciplines we work with etc.
They wanted to create one space, together. The Bâtard-evenings would stand for bridging the gaps and the hybridization of expectations and receptions, of presentation and reflection.
All of this and our ambition to create one space became highly politicised in the weeks before the festival that was taking place in the first two weeks of December, because of the attacks in Paris in November. Brussels was suffering from a lock-down and the theatre (Beursschouwburg Brussels) where the Brussels part would take place was closed till a week before Bâtard started.
Het Veem wrote as announcement:
“We open our house like a fort holding in the tumult, like a protest occupation. This year’s Bâtard is to be a safe space for dangerous ideas, an important space in which smaller spaces - the artworks and propositions - entrench themselves and begin to build an infinity of forms and thoughts. For us, the cohabition of many places in this one space as a way to create the conditions for temporary articulations and intimate or rough collisions. One shared multi-space to physicalize the shared mental space of the festival. One space where the fictive spaces and the real spaces with their specific symbols and sensations congregate to become one single experience.
One space as a political situation. One space as a metaphor as much as a geographical location. One space in which there can be some ‘them’ and some ‘you’, but there is mostly an ‘us’. One space in which the space between us all is closing. A space where we only seem to be in more need of the last weeks...”
The festival was received very well. It produced a critical mass that was highly engaged in the works and in the festival.
They offered a lot of space for reflection and discussion around the showing of the performances and this happened intensively as a consequence.
For example they let the festival begin at 19.00hrs. People would come in rushed to make it in time, they would be welcomed at the door by the team of curators, who then personally told them one on one what the night would look like and that the first performances would start at 19.30hrs, so that they now first would have half an hour to arrive and to have a look in the space.
In the space there was a pop-up bookshop with theoretical background books for sale or just to have a look in. There was the ‘Bâtard-Reader’: a reader containing text that had inspired them for the festival and that seemed relevant in these times, mixed with texts by artists and their suggestions – the reader people could bring home. There was a kind of game that they developed laying on the tables, that people could use to enter into conversation with other spectators present. There were drinks and food.
At 19.30hrs the performances started, which would range from video works to a lecture performance. From a philosophical lecture to dance pieces.
Thex proudly presented the following artists and thinkers: Clément Layes, Critical Practice Group, Daniel Blanga-Gubbay, Dittrich Frydetzki, Dreit | Flegel, Froelicher, Grief, Melzer, Worpenberg, Hana Miletic, Hamza Halloubi, Jaha Koo, Louis Vanhaverbeke & Oneka von Schrader, Nathan Fain & Maria Rößler, Scripted Reality.
The festival got great reviews:
“(…) Bâtard Amsterdam is a unique event in the Netherlands; a thematic and theoretically strong, performance festival that emphasises on encounter and dialogue and invites makers that are rarely to never seen in the Netherlands” – Marijn Lems – Theaterkrant.nl
Anne Breure (artistic director Het Veem Theatre) (NL)
Dries Douibi (curator, Bâtard Festival) (BE)
Pamina du Coulon (curator, Bâtard Festival) (BE)
Michiel van de Velde (curator, Bâtard Festival) (Swiss)
Lyndsey Housden (producer) (UK)
Erik Gramberg (technician) (NL)
Paul Schimmel (technician) (NL)
Nienke Scholts (dramaturge) (NL)
Suze van Miltenburg (allround support) (NL)
09.12.15 - 12.12.15